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olliewills

High level brake light requirements

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Hello all,

 

I'm about to tow a trailer for the first time and I had two questions I'm hoping people can help me with. I'll be towing a Brenderup 1250S with high sides and ABS roof. 

 

Q1: The total height of my trailer will block my cars 3rd, high-level brake light (such as it is on a 8G Civic, being built into the spoiler about 4 inches above the light clusters....). I'm wondering if this presents any kind of problem as I drive from the UK to France, and if as a result I need find a way to retrofit my trailer with a 3rd high-level brake light?

 

Q2: I've read in a few places that because my rear view mirror will be blocked by my trailer, that I will need towing mirrors to drive legally in France. If anyone can confirm this for sure, that'd be helpful.

 

Thanks all!

 

Ollie

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Posted (edited)

The high level brake light is not required for a trailer, the lighting requirements are for brake lights to be one on each side of the vehicle or trailer, the high level one is not actually a legal requirement. It is classed as an additional light.

 

As for vision, if you have wing mirrors and can see down both sides of the trailer, and the trailer is not as wide as your car, then you dont need extension mirrors.

Edited by Brecon
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Posted (edited)

@Brecon Thanks for the response. I won't worry about the brake light then. For the mirrors, the car will be wider than the trailer, if only by 20cm each side, but I assume that will be sufficient. I suppose if this sort of thing were a problem, all those cars you see with parcel shelves packed to the roof would also need mirror extensions!

 

Now the only thing I have left to fathom is how to secure my trailer in case we need to stop for a night on our way to Nantes from Calais. I'll have a box-type hitch lock and wheel clamp, but that still leaves the problem of nothing but two regular bolts holding the towball on, which would take all of seconds to remove..... Perhaps I'm just over-thinking it.

Edited by olliewills

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The CMC advise that the mirrors should give a view 4-5m wider than the trailer at 10-20m distance behind it. There is legislation but it is EU-style, complex, and comes under several different legislative covers. I take the view that as long as I can see down the side of the caravan (i.e. can see both sides of the caravan if only in part) then it is as good as it gets.

 

EU rules are that if a vehicle complies with the relevant construction and use regulations in its home country then it is approved for the whole of Europe.

 

Finally, Nantes is not as far as you may think - about 600Km - and with an early start at Calais and taking plenty of breaks it should be possible to do the distance in one go, especially if you use the autoroutes. Otherwise do a stopover - we use the municipal Camping St Michel at Le Bec Hellouin about 20 miles SW of Rouen and 250Km from Calais and not far off the autoroute you will be using. 

 

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Posted (edited)

This is what the law states - near enough isn't good enough - if you cant see down the side of the van (especially on the nearside) then you wont see the dozy cyclist who creeps up into your blind spot

 

 

milencotowing.jpg

Edited by matelodave
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Posted (edited)

I always puzzle why folk are so reluctant to fit towing mirrors. The simple fact is if the police stop you you could be fined up to £1,000 and 3 penalty points on your licence. On top of that if you were involved in an accident and you didn't have towing mirrors your insurance may not pay out, why give them an excuse?

Pay the £50 for a decent set, fit them when your towing, better safe than sorry and get on with life.

Edited by MacSpot
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25 minutes ago, MacSpot said:

I always puzzle why folk are so reluctant to fit towing mirrors. The simple fact is if the police stop you you could be fined up to £1,000 and 3 penalty points on your licence. On top of that if you were involved in an accident and you didn't have towing mirrors your insurance may not pay out, why give them an excuse?

Pay the £50 for a decent set, fit them when your towing, better safe than sorry and get on with life.

Too many drivers fail to use their car's standard mirrors. Why go to the trouble and expense of fitting extension mirrors if you're not going to use them in the first place?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, matelodave said:

This is what the law states - near enough isn't good enough - if you cant see down the side of the van (especially on the nearside) then you wont see the dozy cyclist who creeps up into your blind spot

 

 

milencotowing.jpg

 

I agree that with a caravan, or any trailer that is wider than the towing vehicle,  towing extension mirrors are a must.

However, the OP is using a much narrower trailer which does not impede his rear vision through his wing mirrors.

Edited by Brecon

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54 minutes ago, MacSpot said:

I always puzzle why folk are so reluctant to fit towing mirrors. The simple fact is if the police stop you you could be fined up to £1,000 and 3 penalty points on your licence. On top of that if you were involved in an accident and you didn't have towing mirrors your insurance may not pay out, why give them an excuse?

Pay the £50 for a decent set, fit them when your towing, better safe than sorry and get on with life.

 

image.png

Quote

"To prevent your tow car becoming an additional hazard, there is a maximum distance of 25 cm that the mirrors must not extend beyond the width of your caravan; this is reduced to a maximum of 20 cm on cars manufactured prior to 26th January 2007."

 

So just sticking them on to be "better safe than sorry" is not that simple

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59 minutes ago, MacSpot said:

I always puzzle why folk are so reluctant to fit towing mirrors. The simple fact is if the police stop you you could be fined up to £1,000 and 3 penalty points on your licence. On top of that if you were involved in an accident and you didn't have towing mirrors your insurance may not pay out, why give them an excuse?

Pay the £50 for a decent set, fit them when your towing, better safe than sorry and get on with life.

I'm not sure but I think each mirror can be counted as a separate offence, perhaps LE knows for certain

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Grandpa Steve said:

 

image.png

 

So just sticking them on to be "better safe than sorry" is not that simple

My sincere apologies, I was approaching this from a towing a caravan, I accept that some trailers are not as wide as the vehicle that is towing it. I assumed if the trailer is high enough to block the rear brake light, it's will be wide.
I bow to your depth of knowledge. :mellow:

Edited by MacSpot

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6 minutes ago, MacSpot said:

My sincere apologies, I was approaching this from a towing a caravan, I accept that some trailers are not as wide as the vehicle that is towing it. I assumed if the trailer is high enough to block the rear brake light, it's will be wide.
I bow to your depth of knowledge. :mellow:

 

No worries, Google and experience of being on the forum for 15 years (oh and a good memory to recall previous topics) helps ;)  :) :) 

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2 hours ago, matelodave said:

I'm not sure but I think each mirror can be counted as a separate offence, perhaps LE knows for certain

 

It's a Construction & Use offence so whether one is, or both are, missing is one offence.

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2 hours ago, matelodave said:

I'm not sure but I think each mirror can be counted as a separate offence, perhaps LE knows for certain

 

The offence is failing to have an adequate view to the rear. The law requires you to have one internal mirror and one external mirror on the off (drivers) side. If there is insufficient view to the rear from the internal mirror (think van with no windows in the rear) than an additional external mirror is required on the near (passengers side) Just about every single vehicle now has two external mirrors anyway, probably to prevent any “problems” if the inside is loaded up to the roof! 

If the mirrors are fitted then they must still provided a “view to the rear” so if folded down/in they don’t count.

 

Of course there is nothing in law to say you must USE any of those mirrors !!

 

Andy

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3 hours ago, MacSpot said:

I always puzzle why folk are so reluctant to fit towing mirrors

 

It might not be reluctance, it might be the physical difficulty.  I have a pair of extended mirrors that claimed to fit any car, but they would not fit on mine.  I even looked on-line for other extended mirrors and could not see any that looked like they would fit straight out of the box so I was not going to throw more money at them.   Fortunately I have a workshop and I'm pretty good at making and mending things, so I did an extensive modification to the extended mirrors I had, and only then could I fit them. 

 

How people manage who do not have that sort of capability I don't know. On second thought I do know - they don't bother, as you have noticed.

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24 minutes ago, Bolingbroke said:

so I did an extensive modification to the extended mirrors I had, and only then could I fit them. 

 

How people manage who do not have that sort of capability I don't know.

There are several mounting types available. The problem is finding the best for your needs 

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Thank you everyone for the comments. I suspect, just to be on the safe and given that I've never towed before, I'll pick up a set of mirrors and that way I have them and if i'm not happy with my visibility, I can improve things.

 

To be clear, my question about if I needed them or not was not as a way of getting out of buying them, I just wanted clarification based on the fact that my trailer will block my interior mirror like a caravan would, but since it is not as wide as my car, my mirrors will be unaffected. I'm happy to spend £50 on a set of Milenco's and have them for me and if not, they can be donated to my parents who tow a caravan and probably don't have the greatest set of mirrors.

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6 hours ago, Woodentop said:

Finally, Nantes is not as far as you may think - about 600Km - and with an early start at Calais and taking plenty of breaks it should be possible to do the distance in one go, especially if you use the autoroutes. Otherwise do a stopover - we use the municipal Camping St Michel at Le Bec Hellouin about 20 miles SW of Rouen and 250Km from Calais and not far off the autoroute you will be using. 

 

I think the issue for us is that we, my partner and I plus our two boys (3.5yrs and 13 weeks), will first be travelling from Cardiff to Folkestone, then on the shuttle, then from Calais to Nantes. Our current plan is to get from Cardiff to Calais in one shot, or maybe a little further, then rest for a night somewhere, then finish things off the next day. This assumes of course that the ferries aren't running again by then, otherwise we'd do Portsmouth to St Malo and have a good sleep overnight with the car/trailer safe and secure.

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